How would you like the chance to soak in the silence of the Himalayas, watch the clouds roll by, listen to the birds singing and all while living next door to India’s best-loved author, Ruskin Bond?
Next time you consider booking a homestay, make sure you take sound advice and measures to confirm of the amenities you can expect.
Hearing about my profound experience of the last visit to Landour, a friend wanted to join me on the next trip. I had booked a homestay I discovered on Facebook and decided to book it right away. However, when we arrived, we were rendered speechless – the scenic beauty of a Landour morning was lost on the state of the homestay we were supposed to stay at! Seeing no other option, we set out looking for comfortable quarters to spend the weekend in.
Our first stop was the famous Landour Bakehouse, a steaming cup of lemon ginger tea by the large glass window to soak in the pine-kissed morning sunshine.
After a hearty breakfast, we ended up exploring much of the sleepy little town that has stimulated many a genius’ mind with its beauty. Walking along the mighty Pir Panjal of the Himalayas, we didn’t realise that we had spent more than 2 hours walking around Landour. No sight of a homestay yet. It was finally when we stopped at the famous Chaar Dukaan for pancakes that we were advised to head down towards Mussorie and we would surely come across accommodation along the way.
Taking the steep cobbled road down in front of the State Bank Of India branch opposite Chaar Dukaan, we carried on. Every house along the way seemed fit for a postcard! At length, we arrived at Doma’s Inn.
For those who have been to Landour, Doma’s Inn is famous as the restaurant in the building next to Ruskin Bond’s residence. Although the famous author does not appear publicly as much, and definitely does not entertain guests who turn up uninvited at his door, several literary minds visit Landour hoping to catch a glimpse or catch a conversation with the famous author.
Doma’s Inn, however, does not promote any such interest. Guests are welcome to come in, enjoy Tibetan cuisine and hospitality but no promises are made for visiting Ruskin Bond.
We found ourselves a large bedroom on the first floor. A large sitting area next to the room became our haunt as none of us wanted to spend much time inside the room.
The view from our window was spectacular. An undisturbed view of the main road to Chaar Dukaan going uphill and a rolling expanse of the valley right down through Mussoorie to Dehradun. The facilities at Doma’s Inn are surprisingly good. The entire building is built almost completely with wood, making it snug in winters and cool in summers. The décor is truly enchanting with paper dragons hanging from the wall and bamboo chimneys sounding to the constant mountain breeze.
The paper lights and Tibetan décor made for a perfect setting for the evening after we returned from a leisurely stroll in the village close by to watch the sunset.
A good night’s rest under the thick cotton duvets helped us wake up fresh and early the next morning. As I opened a single window in the room, the cold mountain air came streaming in – and that worked much better at waking us up than any cup of coffee!
Our first stop was at Chaar Dukaan with ginger lemon tea and stuffed bread and then we walked the legendary ‘eight’ walk, almost in complete silence as we listened to bird calls and the rustling of the leaves in the wind.
I’d write more about Landour and its pristine beauty but I’d run out of ink.
It was almost noon when we decided to head back to Doma’s Inn. We had a spicy Thukpa and ‘nuclear’ meat chops to look forward to. We packed our bags and helped ourselves to lunch. The taxi we had called on to ferry us back to Dehradun was nowhere to be seen! Thanks to the good folks at Doma’s Inn, they arranged for a taxi for us – although a little more expensive than we had hoped, it turned out to be a smooth journey back to the city.
If you are headed for Landour, Doma’s Inn is a responsible choice for you. You can contact them here and savour some honest Tibetan fare in the mountains.
– Text and images by Susmita Mukherjee